Hey cabin lovers! Welcome to season 2 of My Dream Log Cabin Podcast. Often log kit shoppers type the phrase “Log Home Builder Near Me” while hunting for their log cabin builder. More often than not, when building a forever home, clients are getting limited search results due to location restriction, rather than a diverse selection of log suppliers who may be better suited for the desired result the homeowner wants. There are more strategic ways to shop online for a log home builder.
Today’s episode goes provides a more efficient strategy to shop online for a log kit as well as insider information to help you understand the bidding process and why not all log cabin bids are created equal.
Hey Cabin Lovers, welcome to season 2 of the My Dream Log Cabin Podcast.
I’m your host Lindsay Sutherland and this episode is brought to you by Caribou Creek custom log home builders where passion, artisanship, and experience come together to give your dream log home.
Wow, so much has been going on with us since last season. May I just say, I am so tickled to be here with you! Caribou Creek realizes how valuable this podcast has been to so many people in helping to navigate the waters of building a dream log home. We have a great lineup of episodes outlined for this season so be sure to hit that subscribe button so that you don’t miss any of them.
I’m curious, where are you on your log home journey? Are you still in the dreaming phase, maybe you’re in the planning phase, or perhaps you are already in the building phase! If you are still in the beginning stages I want to remind you that we offer a handy workbook to help you ask the right questions, consider all the possibilities that you may not even be aware of, and organize your ideas into one easy-to-find place. It is called the Ultimate Log Home Planning Guide and you can order your copy from Caribou Creek.com. In the upper right-hand corner of the home page, you’ll find the button to take you there and I’ll be sure to link it in the show notes.
"Log Cabin Builder Near Me," The Back Story
Recently, we started really digging into our Google analytics while forecasting our marketing strategy for the coming year. We found something interesting about people searching for log home builders. According to Google’s keyword planner, there are 1,900 monthly searches for the keyword “Log Home Builder Near Me.” And that is just in the United States!
Additionally, another 3,600 people search monthly for the keyword “Log Home Builder” without the last two words, “near me.”
These numbers really got our attention, not necessarily because of the number of searches, but because we understand that most log home shoppers are not planning to build near the location they are searching in. Also, we understand that most log kit builders deliver their products all around the nation and even the globe. By searching for a log home builder “near you” you will certainly find builders close by; however, that does not mean those are the only log suppliers you may choose from. In fact, it may be true that the builders near you actually may not be the best log supplier for your project.
Let’s unpack this a bit more and then talk about what is the best way to search for a log home builder so you can get the best log package for your needs.
Before we get too deep into that, I want to take a brief moment to share with you some of the projects we have going on in the yard here at Caribou. We currently have 2 projects happening. The one I want to highlight today you can get a glimpse of on Instagram. I just posted a reel yesterday with a birds-eye view of this huge dovetail log cant structure headed for Wyoming. We are almost finished with this project and will be shipping it soon.
Meanwhile, one of our senior crafters Joe has been personally building a gorgeous custom staircase for a family in Pennsylvania. This staircase is supremely unique for many reasons, one the treads are made from half logs that are coped into each other and it is designed to have a slight curve that reminds me of a waterfall without compromising foot space.
I asked Joe how long it is taking him to craft and he said it will be about 3 weeks. The staircase will take about 2 days to install and will require two of our guys. We will be sharing a video of the staircase on IG soon too. If you don’t follow us on Instagram then head over there and connect. Don’t be shy, you can send us a DM too.
Alright, let’s move into this week’s episode.
How Google Works
So, Google has this really nice feature that shows us where people are searching from. It varies by keyword, but when we looked at a large sampling of relevant keywords we discovered that the top three cities people are in when searching for a log home is Chicago Illinois, New York City, New York, and San Francisco, California.
Now folks, I think you can guess right off hand that it is very unlikely people will be building a log home in any of these three metropolitan areas.
What is more likely is people are relocating from these locations or building a second home in a mountain region near that area.
We were at a trade show recently when someone walked by and said, “Wow, your homes are gorgeous! I wish we would have known about you before we built our home.” This is so common and I bet other log home companies hear this too. In some ways, search engines are actually limiting people from the right log home builder for their desired home.
This happens because not only do people search by location but also Google does a great job of presenting options that are near the searcher. This logic makes sense if you are searching for a coffee shop or a grocery store. 100% of the time you would want Google to present options that are nearby, but with log home builders this may not be the best selection, just the closest selection.
You may be asking yourself how the shipping costs factor in as well. Let’s take a look at this log kit shopping experience and how to make a decision that is right for you.
When Local Builder Makes Sense
Firstly, look at the size of the log package you desire. If you want a small hunting cabin or you have some secluded mountain property that you want to use as a vacation spot, then finding a local builder makes more sense most of the time. Here is why a small log kit can usually fit on one semi-truck and you wouldn’t necessarily want the cost of shipping to be larger than the price of the kit which could happen if your log supplier is miles away.
When building a forever home, the log home of your dreams; however, it makes more sense to shop farther away and really evaluate the builder, the quality of their homes, the fiber they use, and other factors, such as, if they offer a re-stacking service.
Why is fiber choice even a consideration you may be wondering? Well, not only is it extremely important to the quality of your home, it could effect the look of the home as well and even may effect your health. We have recorded two episodes to discuss fiber in more detail. Their titles are Common Timber Species for Log Home Construction and The Log Selection Process.
Here are a few interesting facts though that could play into the overall cost and quality of your home. Most builders source timber near them which means you may be subject to log fiber that is not your ideal preference simply because the log fiber you would prefer is not in your region.
If you were to ask a log builder near you to source a specific type of log they may say they can do that to accommodate you. So let’s use this made up story as an example to demonstrate how this could play out and potentially effect your project.
Imagine you are looking to build in the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains and you reach out to a local builder who primarily builds with beetle-killed dead standing western wood species. Not a bad choice if you love that rustic knotty look. But, say, for example, you decide you prefer kiln-dried Douglas fir for its larger log diameter and sturdiness. You ask the builder if they would build with the logs you prefer and they agree to bid your house with kiln dried douglas fir.
What you may not realize is that they would then call log suppliers on the coast and have the logs shipped to their building site to craft your home. They would be paying for the shipping of the full logs, of which much of it would become waste discarded during the construction process.
So, on the surface, it may seem like you could be saving money by using a local builder, but in the end, you may actually be paying more in shipping for the logs, even logs that don’t get used on your house, than you realize. It would make sense to also get a bid from a builder that specializes in the species you prefer to compare the final price.
For example, Caribou Creek builds with kiln-dried coastal Douglas fir. If you had us bid the project we would include the shipping of the finished kit to your job site in Colorado. The finished kit would only include the logs already scribed to their exact specifications which would reduce the overall weight compared to full logs uncut. So, although the shipping may appear higher than a local builder, the local builder’s bid may be higher because they are bidding the extra cost into the materials package rather than shipping.
The Best Way To Search For A Log Cabin Builder
Whew! That’s a lot to try to explain on a podcast, but it’s a detail worth sharing because log cabin shoppers would not know the behind-the-scenes of the bidding process of a log kit builder.
By limiting yourself geographically when searching for a builder, you may also be limiting yourself on quality of craftsmanship, package options, customization ability, timeliness of construction, and completeness of package.
Just as we demonstrated above there are many variables and not all log kit suppliers bid on projects the same way. To help you navigate this process we created a free PDF called the log shoppers checklist. It has a list of questions to help you interview log suppliers as well as an organized checklist and additional resources to give you all the guidance you need.
Let’s wrap up by discussing the best way to shop for a log home.
We know most cabin lovers are imagining their log home long before they even have land or are ready to build. Factors such as career, family, convenience of city, price, and land availability could all be playing a part in how soon your dream happens.
We have broken down your buyers journey into 3 basic stages.
Dreaming – Planning – Building
During the dreaming phase you know your log home is in your future but you aren’t ready to get serious about shopping for land and builders just yet. At this stage you are more curious about what kind of log home is right for you. This is the time to be researching fiber options, construction methods, the perfect location for your home, various styles of log homes, floor plan layout ideas, and to spend time with a dream board on Pinterest of your favorite images. Location should not impact your search too much here because you are learning about log homes and what styles suit you personally.
The planning phase begins when you are ready to start shopping. You are ready to buy the land, find the builder or architect, and start the preliminary steps it takes to get your team together. This is a great time to pick up the Ultimate Log Home Planning Guide and download the Checklist. As for searching online, this is the time to put all your research into action. Make sure you are clear about what log style you want… Do you want handcrafted or milled? Do you prefer full-length logs or are butt joints acceptable to you? Do you want a custom floor plan or have you found the perfect floor plan? Does that floor plan fit your land location? I could go on – the more specific you are, the easier it will be to find a log supplier that produces the log kit you will be proud of. There is nothing worse than finding out there was a better option after the fact, or that you could have saved a bundle; or perhaps you would have spent more to get what you really wanted, but you didn’t know that option was out there.
Doing a Google search is fine, but search very specific terms like, log home supplier that builds with (Insert the fiber choice you prefer). Or, “log home builder that builds western-style round log homes.”
Do you see where I’m going with this? The more precise you are, the better results you will get.
And, here is another important factor, don’t just stay on the first page of Google. Maybe the best builder for you is not paying oodles of money to show up on the first page and is on page 2 or 3.
To have a great building experience take your time in the planning and dreaming stages. Don’t rush yourself.
Hey cabin lovers, I hope this episode was helpful. I want to invite you to leave a review on whatever podcast player you tune in on. This helps us know we are giving you value and helps other cabin lovers find the information they need. We appreciate you listening in and until next time, bye for now.
Lindsay is the host of the podcast My Dream Log Cabin. After chasing her dream of living in a log cabin in the woods, she found herself in North Idaho living in a log cabin and working with Caribou Creek Log Homes! Her posts are based on her experience and education while working with Caribou Creek.